fonds RCOO - Ron Cooke Archive

Identity area

Reference code



Ron Cooke Archive


  • c 1947-2002 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.96 cubic metres

48 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Sir Ronald Urwick Cooke was born on 1 September 1941 in Maidstone, Kent. He studied geography with geology at University College, London, and completed his PhD there in 1968. In 1962 he was appointed Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Geography at the university. He became a professor there in 1981 and then Dean of Arts and Vice-Provost from 1991 to 1993.

In 1993 he moved to Yorkshire to take up the post of Vice-Chancellor at the University of York, a position he held until 2002. Under his Vice-Chancellorship, the student population doubled, with York being recognised nationally for the quality of its teaching and research. Sir Ronald also oversaw the creation of the Hull York Medical School, which opened to students in 2003, and co-founded The White Rose Partnership, linking York, Sheffield and Leeds universities.

He was awarded the Founder’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1994 and served as President of the society from 2000 to 2003. In 2002 he was knighted for his services to higher education.

Following his retirement, he continues to be active in public life. He was chair of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in 2004 and Trustee of the National Museum of Science and Industry between 2005 and 2008. In Yorkshire he has served as secretary of the York Archaeological Trust and as chair of the York Civic Trust, the Yorkshire Arboretum at Castle Howard, and the Reinvigorate York Project, as well as being a patron of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and Trustee of York Museums Trust. In 2017 he was appointed chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Yorkshire and the Humber Committee.

In 2011 the Ron Cooke Hub on the University of York’s Heslington East campus was named in his honour.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute in 2007. A further addition was made to the archive in 2011.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers of Sir Ron Cooke, 1957-2002, including papers concerning his academic studies in geography and geology at University College, London, 1957-1962; papers concerning early development of University of York, c.1947-1960s; papers concerning his time as Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, 1993-2002; papers concerning The Dearing Report, 1997; speeches given by Cooke, with notes, 1992-2002; selected books written by Cooke, 1968-1993; and published and unpublished papers by Cooke.


Further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws. 24 hours' notice is required to access photographic material.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Includes 1 digital compact disc. Access to digital records may be restricted due to technical requirements, please contact the Borthwick Institute for further information.

Finding aids

The archive has not yet been catalogued.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Further records concerning Sir Ron's Vice-Chancellorship of York are deposited at the Borthwick Institute as part of the University of York Archive (Reference: UoY).

Related descriptions

Notes area

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier


Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by S. A. Shearn, 20.04.17.




Accession area